It may be silly to feel this way about 31 days, but I love October.
The weather starts to show maturity and character. (Keats didn’t write a poem about the “mists and mellow fruitfulness” of, say, July.) September’s back-to-school hustle—programmed for life, whether you’re a student or a parent or not—settles into a more humane and creative rhythm. You get up early, sniff the crisp autumnal air, and make plans. Your own plans! October provides a few blissful weeks free of those Big Occasions that demand family visits, long-distance travel, ambitious cooking, or marathon shopping. (Halloween is so user-friendly: get yourself a Sexy Mailman outfit, gather three pounds of corporate sugar, and you’re good!)
Baseball and beer get more interesting. Coffee becomes extra-delicious. You can make soup without feeling compelled to put chilled cucumber in it. Whiskey makes a comeback. Pumpkin patches become tourist destinations. It’s a time to get stuff done and do fun stuff.
A distinctive October-ness pervades this issue of Portland Monthly. We consider the mighty mushroom, scientific and culinary seasonal wonder of the Oregon forest. Conveniently, our woodsy, cozy-cabins fall fashion feature then demonstrates how to chase those fungi in high style. Arts and culture editor Aaron Scott’s report on Oregon Ballet Theatre’s financial and artistic rebirth digs behind the scenes of Portland’s robust fall high-culture season. Food critic Karen Brooks’s review of Davenport evokes autumn’s post-barbecue return to studious, grown-up cooking.
Above all, our annual cross-section of Oregon’s wine scene—with its list of the state’s 50 best bottles, travel guides to wine country, and an immersive photographic exploration of “crush,” the industry’s harvest season—captures the productive snap in the air. Winemaking demands year-round, intense labor and smart decision-making. And now—right now—that hard work pays off in congratulatory toasts while plans for the future take shape.
That’s October: a turning point, as we shift into fall and the holiday season, and a moment to savor.